Myf Warhurst: “The first Double J song will be Australian”
At around lunchtime tomorrow Myf Warhurst will make radio history when she cues up the first song ever played on triple j’s new digital counterpart Double J. It’s the stuff radio dreams are made of – and the former triple j presenter and Spicks and Specks team captain couldn’t be prouder.
“It’s been something I’ve been looking for in Australian radio for quite some time and I’m wrapt to be involved,” she tells FL from Sydney, her new home after a year-and-a-half in London. “This was lacking in the landscape for sure and I think a lot of people felt the same way as me.”
Warhurst will present a daily music program on the new station, which will officially launch with a live broadcast from Melbourne’s Kelvin Club tomorrow. Formerly known as Dig Radio, Double J takes its name from the ground-breaking predecessor to triple j, which took to the air in Sydney in 1975. The first song played back then was Skyhooks’ ‘You Just Like Me Cos I’m Good in Bed’, but Warhurst is remaining tight-lipped over what’s planned for tomorrow. “There’s been a lot of discussion about that. No clues, but it will be Australian,” she confirms.
Is it a Skrillex remix of Skyhooks as some listeners have suggested? “Oh, that’s funny – that’s really funny,” she says, laughing. “But I really don’t know [what the song is]. I’m yet to weigh in on the debate. I get to play it though – what an honour. I just thought of that. Fuck!”
“It was too good to pass up”
After a long-running stint as team captain on the ABC’s Spicks and Specks, a short-lived stint on commercial radio (“I realised I was no good for it, and it was no good for me,” she says of her 18-month run on Triple M) and a six-part ABC series called Nice, Warhurst moved to London for some “perspective”. She did some correspondent work for Channel 10’s The Project, including an interview with Beyonce, wrote a column for The Guardian and hosted a “little talk show” in the Spiegeltent at Edinburgh Fringe. About six months ago the Double J role came up, and it was too good to pass up.
“I had a go at commercial, I worked pretty much all of my adult radio life at triple j, and I wasn’t ready for talkback radio yet. There was nothing radio wise and I love radio,” she explains. “In my lifetime I haven’t known a new radio station to start that I’ve been interested in getting involved in – they don’t happen very often – especially one that will play music I’m really proud of.”
So what will Double J play?
In an interview with FL earlier this month, triple j content director Meagan Loader said there’d only be 10 percent crossover between the two stations. “Our research showed that people wanted a station that played great new music as well as all the classic triple j tunes they’ve grown up with.”
But Warhurst is adamant it’s not just a nostalgia trip. “We’re not just playing old music, it’s something like 70 percent new music,” she explains. “We’ll do a lot of stuff that triple j’s probably always wanted to do, but didn’t have as much scope – you can’t play everything. But we have a lot more freedom, and there’s going to be a lot of artists that will get the exposure they deserve.”
So is it clear yet what distinguishes a Double J act from a triple j act? “To me it sounds like everything I’d want to listen to,” she continues. “Well, not everything because we need to hear stuff we don’t like to. It’s dangerous not to. I hate the attitude, ‘Oh, it’s not my thing, get it off!’ You need to hear stuff you don’t like sometimes to work out what you do like. It’s like working in commercial radio – you have to do it to know you don’t want to do it again,” she jokes.
Warhurst will present a daily music show from 11am to 3pm on weekdays, with the full list of programs and presenters to be unveiled on air tomorrow. She describes the role as a homecoming of sorts after leaving triple j in 2007 to co-host Triple M’s breakfast show with Peter Helliar. She shot to prominence in the early- to mid-2000s as the host of triple j’s Lunch shift, before joining Jay and the Doctor on the Breakfast show ahead of her move to Triple M. “It’s good to know that I can come back to where I feel a lot more comfortable,” she says. “The whole ABC world is my world. It’s great. It feels like coming home.”
And Warhurst won’t be the only familiar name when Double J launches tomorrow. “All I can say is there are some very well-respected presenters and a couple very good musicians as well involved,” she says. I’m honoured to be involved in something like that. We get to mould it. That’s our opportunity so we better not fuck it up. [Laughs] It’s a great team so I’m sure we won’t.”
Double J will be available via the ABC Radio App, online at www.doublej.net.au, or on digital radio/TV from tomorrow, April 30.